Since 2010, this community-focused conference has brought some of the biggest names in the sci-fi, fantasy and gaming world to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hal-Con attracts celebrities like Gates McFadden (2016), John de Lancie (2015) Mark Sheppard (2014), Billy Dee Williams (2013), René Auberjonois (2012), Erin Gray (2011) and Walter Koenig (2010). Halifax is the hub of the Maritimes and we think it’s the perfect backdrop for Atlantic Canada’s biggest sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention.
Values, Vision and Mission
Hal-Con is committed to hosting year-round events as well as a 3-day celebration of geek and nerd culture while providing a safe environment to our community. We continue to strive toward becoming part of the landscape of Halifax and work toward being Canada’s best fan-run “comic con” style convention.
We have zero tolerance for harassment, sexism, or bullying of any kind, both in our online communities and at our events. Hal-Con values equality, opportunity, and freedom of self expression safe from ridicule or judgement. Our convention is a place to learn, to create friendships, to celebrate in a positive, welcoming environment.
Nova Scotia has a history of conventions; many existed from the late 70’s through to the 90’s, but then unfortunately fell out of existence. In late 2008, the idea to revive having a science fiction and gaming convention came about. A group of keen individuals began work on putting together a new Hal-Con, borrowing the name from a previous Halcon convention which existed years before. Over two years of planning, fundraising, and slogging turned out a brilliant first new event. The Lord Nelson Hotel was flooded with nearly 1500 fans from all over the Maritimes turned up in costume to celebrate the return of science fiction and fantasy. Coverage of the event went nationwide across Canada with a feature on InnerSPACE on the Space Channel.
In 2011, Hal-Con moved to the World Trade & Convention Centre, expanding our space and more than doubled attendance to nearly 3800 that year. We saw increased attention from the media, fantastic feedback from fans and vowed to keep growing.
In 2012 we demonstrated even more remarkable growth. We eclipsed 4500 fans in 2012, continuing to draw more fans from across Canada and the USA. Everything grew – our number of scheduled events, our floor space, the caliber of the guests, and our total charitable contributions crossed the $25,000 mark through our charity auction.
In 2013, we had an unprecedented surge in demands for tickets with our guest list including Billy Dee Williams, Jewel Staite, John Rhys-Davies, and Peter Davison. Our existing ticket model allowing single day passes to be redeemed on any day of the event proved problematic as Saturday saw too much demand for attendance. Fans were frustrated with the difficulty for entry/exit of the event, full hallways, and lack of access to their preferred programming. Hal-Con acknowledged the problem, offering immediate no-questions-asked refunds on site, as well as refunds available upon request up to a month after the event. During the peak hours of Saturday, some official guests walked the line-ups outside offering free autographs and chatted with fans. Attendance was estimated at 5400. While there were problems that needed correction – this proved Hal-Con was a popular event and had potential to continue growth based on audience demand.
Determined to “right the ship,” the team regrouped in 2014 and corrected the issues plaguing the previous year. By allowing tickets only to be valid for one specified day, the total attendance could be easily capped and monitored to allow better event flow. Vigilantly monitoring any issues as they arose, we were able to accommodate requests and ran a smooth, successful event, working toward establishing our long-term future in the city. Growing once again to approximately 6400 (including volunteers, etc), we committed to a cautious but optimistic outlook for our future.
As of 2015, we have seen a huge increase in demand for tickets. To ensure due consideration was given as we grow to include the attached Scotiabank Centre to our existing space at the WTCC in Halifax, tickets went on sale later than usual in May 2015. By the end of that month Warp Speed (VIP), Weekend Passes, all children’s passes, all discount passes, and Saturday admission tickets were sold out. We are excited for this year, looking forward to our expanded space as we anxiously await a larger venue space in our future.
For 2016, we continued to improve towards meeting demand of tickets and guests, as well as fan-run panels and space for everyone. We kept an eye on the new place as it continued construction, held the countdown for ticket sales, and we were able to be back at the WTCC and Scotiabank Centre. Tickets went on sale in June, and within a fortnight Weekend Passes were sold out, and within 14 seconds Warp Speed (VIP) was sold out.
Hal-Con’s main fundraising event is our annual Charity Auction, held during the sci-fi and gaming convention weekend. Proceeds from the auction are donated to our charities – The IWK and The Kids Help Phone. We are also committed to supporting the community and other charities throughout the year. Our Community Events Team and our costumed volunteers can be seen at events around the HRM all year round!
Hal-Con is registered with the Province of Nova Scotia (Registry of Joint Stocks) as a society, granting NPO status. (#3235985).